Miracles of the Six-Day War
CAIRO RADIO (May 30, 1967} – “Faced by the blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba, Israel has two choices, both of which are drenched with Israel’s blood: either it will be strangled by the Arab military and economic siege or it will be killed by the bullets of the Arab armies surrounding it from the South, from the North and from the East.”
ABBA EBAN (June 19, 1967} at the U. N. General Assembly – “Nobody in Israel between May 23 and June 5 will ever forget the air of foreboding that hovered over our country. Hemmed in by hostile armies ready to strike, affronted and beset by a flagrant act of war, bombarded day and night by predictions of our approaching extinction, forced into total mobilization, her economy and commerce beating feebly, her main supplies of fuel choked by a belligerent act, Israel faced the greatest peril to her existence since the hour of her birth ….The choice was to live or perish, to defend the national existence or forfeit it for all time.”
Glancing at his wristwatch, Marshal Abdel Hamik Amer is in instant agreement with Lt. General Mahmoud Sidki. “Yes,” they are right on schedule. It is exactly 8:00 a.m. on a warm and sunny Monday morning, June 5, 1967. In moments their llyushin 14 shudders slightly, circles Cairo International Airport, and heads east into the Sinai Peninsula.
The Marshal smiles. This final inspection tour of the Sinai front will I close the Arabs’ military ring on the cities and plains of Israel.
All of Egypt’s forward bases await the Marshal’s arrival. An order has gone out: “NO INCOMING PLANES ARE TO BE FIRED UPON BY ANTI-AIRCRAFT OR MISSILE SITES THIS MORNING.”
The Russian-built transport moved smoothly toward the Bir Thamada Air Base. Suddenly the radiophone receives a scrambled message – “The air base is under attack.” In seconds the runways are bombed out and a score of MlG-17’s, MiG-19’s and TU-16 planes are piled up in twisted smoldering ruins. Amer checks his watch again, it is precisely 8:45, the moment of Israel’s lightning strike by some 500 fighter-bombers.
“Impossible!” shrieks Egypt’s vice president, “So – now they’ve come,” responds Air Force Chief Sidki. Immediate contacts with 19 Sinai airfields compound their dismay. “Marshall, we can’t land anywhere,” reports a pilot. For the next 45 minutes they are held captive in the air until, furious and enraged, they land back at Cairo Airport. The air war has been lost and they have gone nowhere! (Shortly, Lt. General Sidki will face 15 years imprisonment for “malfeasance in office,” and Marshall Amer will “commit suicide.”’)
During their amazing flight, 25 Egyptian airfields and missile sites have been neutralized, 290 ultra modern planes destroyed, and all initial response paralyzed by an uncanny, incredible “don’t fire” order. Israel’s cost: 12 pilots and 15 planes.
In the Sinai’s glare-prone desert, Israeli pilots seldom missed their targets.
Many made seven or eight sorties a day into combat, yet their planes held to an unbelievable 99 percent serviceability throughout the war.
Israel’s tank forces charged on for four days across the burning sands of Sinai to the Suez Canal, withdrew, and returned, all without need of reinforcements. Foreign military experts, “Were amazed at the miracle of a small army with partly obsolete weapons trouncing a mighty army with modern, sophisticated equipment…. If they had not seen the battlefields with their own eyes, they would not have believed it.” It was as if an unseen hand – an unseen army – was helping them.